Firstly, I’d like to congratulate you on making this purchase. You’re now among a small percentage of golfers (mostly elite players), who are open minded enough to explore game improvement techniques, which go beyond swing mechanics.
In the past 15 years that I’ve been a “Performance Coach”, I’ve seen first-hand how a more “holistic” approach is (without a doubt) the most effective way to become the best you can be, and now you are officially on that path!
I’m going to assume that you believe you are a better player than your scores would sometimes suggest. Are you a competitive player who struggles to play the way you do in practice rounds? Perhaps you’ve recently been feeling the effects of pressure during your rounds and you don’t know what to do about it.
Conversations I have with new students can often start like this: “If you saw my swing, you’d think I was a scratch handicap, but I can’t break 80!” or “On the range, I can hit any shot I want, but on the course it’s a different story…”.
I’m sure you’re experiencing something similar, or at least you’re aware that your performance in this game is not only about how good your technique is. There’s something deeper…
I was there myself. I worked very hard on the technical aspects of my game. My scores were decent in practice rounds, but in tournament rounds I could never reach that same level of play. At the time, I had no explanation other than, “my swing was off that day”. But I began to ask myself, “was it really that my technical skills were deserting me in tournaments, or was something else happening? Was it simply that my swing was better on those days that I played well, or what is that my mindset and what I was focusing on helped me swing better?”
Technical Skills Do Not Equal Playing Skills
I began to ask other golfers the same question, and the more I asked, the more it became clear that their best scores came when they were in a good mental state. They were more present, free of judgment and had more intent and commitment. But was this a coincidence, or was it that their mindset was allowing them to better access to their best skills? The converse was true when they weren’t playing well. Their mindset and attitude was determined by the poor outcome of their shots. Your swing might look pretty on the driving range (you have good technical skills), but if you are not able to have a good mindset on the course, you won’t develop good playing skills.
So if this is true, is mind-set something that can be controlled and improved, or not? Could we train our minds for better performance like we train our technical skills? I wanted to find out…
“Golf State of Mind” began as a personal development project, for me to journal my findings as to whether golf scores could be improved by better mental performance. I began to blog about my findings and it clearly resonated with other golfers.
During the next year or so, via a deep dive into sports psychology and interviews with hundreds of golfers (of all levels) it became obvious that a player’s mental skills and mindset directly affects their ability to play better, more enjoyable golf. But why, in a game which has been played (and taught) for hundreds of years has it taken so long to realize this? Most golfers immediately default to needing to improve their technique after a poor round. But now it’s obvious that we need to look deeper.
When I asked golfers what they loved about the game, “the mental and physical challenge” was the top answer I received. It was already clear to almost all the golfers that I interviewed, that the game is about more than just technical skills. Overcoming mental challenges such as course strategy, dealing with the pressure, staying calm, bouncing back etc., were all things that golfers enjoyed about the game. But did any of the players I
interviewed know how to get better at “the mental part of the game”? The answer was no.
Mental Coaching As Part Of Game Improvement
So why has it taken so long for mental coaching to be recognized as a key part of game improvement?
There are a few reasons why mental coaching is still an undervalued and overlooked area of game improvement:
1. The Golf Industry is positioned to make money from selling equipment, swing lessons and swing training aids, so this is what it focuses on promoting via TV, magazines and websites.
2. Technical instruction is more tangible – you can see the effects of a swing change or a new equipment immediately.
3. Many golfers want quick fixes. Look at the cover of any golf magazine and that’s what sells. Changing mindset and improving mental skills is a longer-term investment.
4. Most golf instructors don’t know how to teach the mental side of the game, nor do many of them buy into how much it improves performance. The culture of golf coaching is more focused on the technical aspects of the game and that’s all that most golf instructors work on with their students
From the research I’ve done, I believe that a lack of awareness and coaching available to improve the mental game, is the reason why the average handicap of 16 has not fallen over the past 40 years. The game of golf is about so much more than technique, and if golfers are to improve and get more enjoyment from it, the golf teaching business as a whole needs to embrace a more holistic approach.
The Champion Golfer Profile
Elite or “champion” golfers have a high level of skill in these 4 areas:
Fitness, strength and conditioning, good nutrition.
Swing and putting stroke fundamentals and mechanics.
Getting properly fit for equipment
How to use your mind to get access to your best skills to deal with pressure, manage thoughts/emotions and play smarter golf.
Adopting A More “Holistic Approach”
Fortunately, the golf industry is beginning to pay more attention to the benefits of a “holistic approach” and the culture of golf coaching is beginning to evolve. But we’ve still got a long way to go. In swing coaching we’ve seen huge advancement in recent years that increase our understanding of how the body needs to move during the swing and how to teach it. Systems such as BodiTrack, Kvest, Trackman and Flightscope are giving coaches and players much more information about the many moving parts of the golf swing, which should (in theory) make improvement more attainable.
Additionally, more and more golfers are seeing the benefits of golf specific fitness, workout and nutrition programs such as TPI. But how do we advance our mental game?
Learning The Mental Skills For Golf
As I began to see improvement in my own game with the research and experimentation that I was doing, I quickly realized that other golfers (and coaches) would benefit from what I’d learned.
I started to compile these techniques into a logical systematic order and the Golf State of Mind Training System was born. I wanted to create something that took a player (and now coaches) through this process step by step, with some guidance via one on one coaching sessions, if needed. What you are reading (or listening to) is not the first version of this system.
The more golfers that went through my program, the more feedback I received, and the more improvements I made.
Although this is a “system”, it’s a player-centric approach. There are many fundamental steps that we should all take, but some of the ideas and concepts in this system are for you to experiment with. We are all different in how we learn, communicate and see the world, so it’s important to experiment and find out what works for you.
“Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots, but you have to play the ball where it lies.” – Bobby Jones
Since I began coaching my Mental Game Training System, I’ve taken thousands of students through this process via one on one and group coaching sessions. Golf has often been referred to as a “mirror for life”. Many of the mental skills that you need to become a better golfer are needed to be successful at anything. They are transferable, or “human skills”.
In this system, we’re going to discover what it is that brings out the best in you on the course, but you’ll also find tools for personal growth and development. If you can improve your ability to deal with pressure, focus, quieten your mind, stay present, bounce back, see mistakes objectively, set goals and gain a more positive attitude, then you’re improving valuable human skills which will help you achieve success and happiness in your life.
OK, let’s get started! The first step is to take my mental game assessment so we can begin to see what brings out the best in you on the course and the areas we need improve.
Mental Game Assessment
Please click here to take the Mental Game Assessment. When you’ve done so, please proceed to Module 2. If you would like me to look at your assessment and take you through this mental coaching process via one on one sessions, please click here for a free consultation.